NHS West Midlands is to “cluster” its primary care trusts to reduce management costs and strengthen joint working on quality and productivity.
West Midlands to cluster PCTs to reduce management costs
The strategic health authority will create five sub-regional clusters, with a PCT chief executive appointed to head each one.
On their current configuration and ways of operating, primary care trusts [in the region] don’t believe they can deliver the 30 per cent reduction in management costs required
These “cluster leads” will be responsible for identifying and implementing management cost reductions, delivering the quality, innovation, productivity and prevention (QIPP) policy, and leading clinical service reconfiguration across the cluster.
However, they will not be responsible for the performance of individual PCTs, or for commissioning healthcare.
NHS West Midlands chief executive Ian Cumming told HSJ the plans were not about “removing the sovereignty” of primary care trusts but about “driving through a sub-regional infrastructure that will allow them to produce management cost reductions”.
“On their current configuration and ways of operating, primary care trusts [in the region] don’t believe they can deliver the 30 per cent reduction in management costs required over the next few years,” he said.
“The clusters are about making sure that the performance framework we have in place for the future is robust and fit for purpose.”
NHS Worcestershire chief executive Paul Bates said: “We need to put some flesh on the concept, and it will differ from cluster to cluster, but anything that offers the opportunity for management cost reduction and sharing expertise and experience across the region is absolutely vital.”
PCT Network director David Stout said it was “in the interest” of PCTs to look at the tasks they can undertake across several PCTs rather than individually.
“If you are trying to make savings on your own in the PCT you are going to struggle to deliver.
“One way or another, PCTs will be looking across boundaries to see if there are tasks that can be shared across a bigger patch.”
But PCTs may need to go even further if they are to deliver the level of savings required in the coming years, he said.
“The challenge is not just making the savings, but really thinking about the way we do business.
“Without a more fundamental shift, even doing things across multiple PCTs may not be enough to generate this level of savings.”
West Midlands PCT clusters
NHS West Midlands is clustering PCTs to maximise strengths and capabilities across the health economy